CYBER education for children should start in preschool, a major investigation of online safety has found.
More than a year in the making, the High-Wire Act Report makes dozens of recommendations to Parliament on how to educate children and teenagers on remaining safe in the increasingly complex online environment.
The first recommendation calls on Early Childhood Minister Peter Garrett to consider providing “cyber-safety” lessons in pre-schools and kindergartens.
“It seems sensible that schools introduce cyber-safety when they introduce computers and online access,” the report, released on Monday, says.
“Unfortunately, it is just too late, because children have already developed a set of habits and practices.”
A major part of the research done by parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety was a survey of 33751 internet users aged between five and 18.
Committee chair Dana Wortley said one of the surprising discoveries in the research was just how integrated young people were with the internet.
“We know that cyber-safety is a very important issue for all those that enter the online environment,” Senator Wortley said.
The same point was made by committee member and Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam, who declared this generation the first born with the internet.
The report called on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Mr Garrett to work alongside the states and territories to develop a definition of cyber-bullying.
It also recommended the creation of a “cyber-safety student mentoring program in Australian schools”.